Ransack the Universe

05/05/10 By KYLA SERGEJEW

The Ransack Organic Sweatshop. PHOTO By KYLA SERGEJEW

Tucked away in the charming basement of a vintage shop is a whimsical collection of knick-knacks and do-dads, appropriately named: Ransack the Universe.

At home in the basement of 69 Vintage/Collective at 1207 Bloor St. W., the shop has begun to establish itself within the community since it’s creation in December of 2009 as it is gaining publicity through events like the four-day book swap held around Earth day.

“We wanted to do some kind of earth day related, a recycling type thing,” said Jess Paehlke, co-owner of Ransack the Universe.  “Everyone’s got something they’ve read and is looking for something new.”

The swap was a success, bringing an influx of people to the store who cycled through all the books – about a hundred – that had originally been laid out for the swap.

Paehlke said that the crowd was a sign of a growing business.

Back in December, the building threw a grand opening party, which included four more boutiques and a sewing studio in the basement alongside Ransack the Universe.  Paehlke, who ran the last Earth day swap on Sunday April 26, hopes the shop can do enough publicity on its own through the website and creative events, to build a reputation in the community.

Before the shop came to life, Paehlke used to hold craft shows in the street at festivals.  When an ad came along for studio space, he and his friend became tired of selling T-shirts in the rain so they jumped at the opportunity.

“It was a whim, pretty much,” Paehlke said.  “At the time we had almost nothing, so we threw it together pretty fast.”

A Button for Any Occasion. PHOTO By KYLA SERGEJEW

In regards to the odd set up in the basement of 69 Vintage/Collective, Paelke finds it to be a harmonious relationship, “It mostly seems to work,” he said.  “They get a pretty specific type of customer – which is maybe not exactly our customer, but – hopefully once we get known ourselves, other people will come as well.”

“We are starting to get repeat customers who live in the area, and they are happy to find us,” he said.

Ransack the Universe displays many crafts made by different artists and vintage items like dishes, décor and records.  A sight for eccentric, a wealth of creativity flows through the entire space – be it the displays of button jewelry or hundreds of scrabble letters turned into pins, Ransack the Universe is a gem hidden in the quaint Bloordale village.

For upcoming events and more information, check out Ransack the Universe’s website at http://www.ransacktheuniverse.com

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